Lu Yang is a history professor at Peking University and the Director of Graduate Studies at Yenching Academy of Peking University.  At the BXAI Summer Program 2018, Professor Lu led the “Heritage Preservation” topic learning stream, where he engaged students in exploring the relationships between urban planning, heritage sites, and local communities.

For Professor Lu, the study of history is an exciting journey of learning about our past and finding connections between the past and present – a journey that he believes adds value to the cultural traditions of the world.  His career as a historian has led him to realize how his personal experiences influence his work.  “Sometimes your experiences enrich your knowledge and make it easier for you to connect to certain periods or people of the past, but on the other hand, your experiences can also limit you in your understanding of historical contexts that may seem foreign to you,” he explains. “My goal is to constantly maintain a balance of using my own experience to understand the past and allowing the past to teach me where my experience is limited.”

Professor Lu encourages students to stay inquisitive and to continuously reflect on their positions, even if they feel confident about what they know on a particular subject.  To further their learning and strengthen their critical thinking, he encourages students to engage and even challenge professors through productive conversations that explore the relationship between assumption and research.